I first became aware of scientology in the late 1960’s through an older cousin. At the time, the cult had only existed for 15 years or so. It claimed to be a new science that would soon be widely accepted. I considered this possible. After all, change was in the air: men were about to walk on the moon. Paranoia was in the air too: the Vietnam War and nonsensical drug laws. To distrust the advice of adults seemed like good sense. Given all that, a branch of science that laid down the precise characteristics of the human soul didn’t seem so far fetched.
Soon I was enrolled in the scientology communications course.
Back then, as today, most people took one look at Scientology and saw it to be a transparent fraud. I gave it more of a chance than most because, by that time, seven family members were involved in it and leaving without creating ripples was impossible. It also gave me hope for solving personal problems, interactions with a group of people who seemed to like me, and a fresh direction in life when my education at university seemed to be stagnating.
But in time I had to admit to myself that some of the things I had seen were more than troublesome; they indicated that Hubbard was misleading his followers and that his followers would believe anything he wrote or said.
It bothered me that I didn’t see any Scientologists, back then, from the 1950’s or even the early 1960’s. I didn’t know if they had quit or been thrown out or moved to LA for higher training. With all they claimed to offer, quitting would be worse than suicide. Being thrown out would be unthinkable because of the high ethics claimed by the organization and the super-sanity of the individuals in it. That left the higher training option and sure enough some did leave for that reason. But as time went on I saw that people were regularly turning their backs on the cult. In fact, today there is no one working for the local cult office that predates me. People are turning away from their promise of immortality faster than you could write a cheque. And a bit of research will show that in the United States L. Ron Hubbard’s personal auditor David Mayo, Hubbard’s son and right hand man L. Ron Junior, the first clear John McMaster and high-level scientologists Warren McShane, Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder have all left. Overnight these individuals changed from the most ethical people on the planet to the most wicked. It is hard to shrug this off with “Scientology isn’t for everybody” as I was told on the street by an OT3 who was handing out leaflets.
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, which is the first book of Scientology, makes claims that can’t be backed up. Hubbard claimed the book to be the result of 15 years of research involved 270 subjects and that the process of Dianetics produced results as consistent as physics or chemistry. Dianetics claims that it will give a person 20/20 vision once he or she reaches the level of clear. Why then does former cult president Heber Jentzsch wear glasses? Why do other clears wear glasses? I have to conclude that Hubbard just lied. He claimed that clears get “whole track recall”. This is Scientology speak for perfect memory. He claimed it twice in Dianetics and emphasized that those who get it are able to use it. I have met many clears. None of them have perfect memory or anything approaching it. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hubbard made many other claims of unusual characteristics for clears in Dianetics. I have seen no evidence for the existence of any of these characteristics.
While I was a member two Canadian OT8’s who were married to one another, died simultaneously in a car crash. At the time, OT8 was defined as someone who was “ at cause, knowingly and at will over matter, energy, space, time, life and thought”. (Forgive me if there is a word or two wrong in that quotation. I read it a long time ago). I couldn’t imagine why they would want to die in a car crash.
In 1971 I was told that the local cult office would be employing 100,000 people by 1975. Sometimes I don’t mind estimates being off, even by a factor of a thousand, but I do mind it when the person making the prediction claims to control time. Back then Scientology claimed 15,000,000 adherents worldwide. Today they variously claim eight or ten million followers and to be the world’s fastest growing religion. Why did representatives of the cult, claim 100,000 followers in Canada in the Globe and Mail and 200,000 followers in Canada a few months later on Global television? If that were true they would likely be the world’s fastest growing religion. However the last census brought in their number at only 1525. The cult offices I have seen are small and I have never seen many people at their events. It seems obvious that the Scientologists have just made up numbers without any basis in reality.
Four friends and family members, all OT’s, have left affirming soon after that OT’s have no special powers. I have never seen an OT phenomenon though they were talked about even while I was taking my very first course over forty years ago.
I was told back then that if I even heard the name of the Galactic Overlord that started all the problems on Earth I would die of pneumonia within two days – L. Ron Hubbard said so. The story of Xenu is out. Instances of pneumonia have not increased. It costs, in most cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars before a Scientologist gets to the point where he hears about Xenu. If recruits heard about Xenu earlier on, Hubbard wouldn’t get their money.
When I mention my experiences to scientologists the usual reaction is, “That was then, this is now”, or a version of that, followed by a pitch to return to the fold. But over the years, far more evidence has come out through books, magazines and the internet, showing that the cult is far, far worse than I ever thought it to be.
I must conclude that there is no more need to find out about Scientology for oneself then there is a need to join the neo-Nazi’s, a biker gang, take opioids or jump out a window. A wise man learns from his mistakes. A smart man learns from other people’s mistakes. I can only claim to be wise.